Seasonal gardening advice: April

By Paul Hervey-Brookes

Spring is well and truly here and the garden will now be emerging from its long winter sleep.

As we still have late frosts make sure vulnerable plants and new shoots are protected at night. In the old days I remember emerging shoots of potatoes being covered with newspaper to keep them safe - it's a great lesson in learning to use what's at hand!

Hoe the borders to eradicate the weeds, add a general purpose fertiliser and plenty of mulch before the plants start to grow and cover the soil. Garden compost, leaf mould, well rotted manure or out of date grow bags can be used for this.

Dead head daffodils and narcissi, sprinkle with a liquid feed and leave them to die down, this will allow the bulb to absorb the nutrients in the foliage giving strong blooms next year!

Wage war on slugs and snails that love to feed on new, tender shoots. Alternatives are grit or broken egg shells. As for the snails, pick them off or provide discreet flat stones for the birds to eat al fresco!
Paul Hervey-Brookes

Dead heading, feeding and weeding will take up a large part of this month as you prepare to 'step into summer'. Removing moss from the lawn and re-seeding, planting sweet peas, pansies and early summer bedding plants. Climbing and rambling roses should be tied in and fed with appropriate fertiliser.

In the garden pond, the fish will be awake and active. Frogs will be spawning and you can add new fish. Split the plants that have outgrown their containers and replant using aquatic compost. Keep the filters and pumps running now.

In the greenhouse sow seeds for the summer and prick out seedlings for the vegetable patch. Make sure the pots are not too big as seedlings tend to do better in smaller pots, plenty of air during daytime hours but be sure to keep the temperature warm at night. Any tender plants in the vegetable garden still need protecting with either fleecer cloches. Hardy herbs and garlic can be planted into containers.

If you decided to grow any of the tomatoes from my top tomatoes blog - do let us know how you are getting on with those as they will now be nice small plants nearing the planting out time!

Meet the author

Paul Hervey-Brookes

Paul had his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks & Spencers.

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